The Perils of Crowds with Seneca

Perennial Meditations

04-09-2022 • 5 mins

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Welcome to Sundays with Seneca on the Perennial Meditations podcast. Join us as we search for ancient lessons for modern life in Stoic philosophy. Today’s selected reading comes from a letter titled On Crowds.

Seneca stressed to Luciulius:

“Do you ask me what you should regard as especially to be avoided? I say, crowds, for as yet you cannot trust yourself to them with safety. I shall admit my own weakness, at any rate, for I never bring back home the same character that I took abroad with me. Something of that which I have forced to be calm within me is disturbed; some of the foes that I have routed return again. Just as the sick man, who has been weak for a long time, is in such a condition that he cannot be taken out of the house without suffering a relapse, so we ourselves are affected when our souls are recovering from a lingering disease.

To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger.” […]

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